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Marlink delivers Fleet Xpress on Aker BioMarine’s Antarctic support vessel

(2 November 2017 - Marlink) Marlink has migrated Aker BioMarine’s Antarctic krill harvester fleet support ship, La Manche, to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service.

The system provides a significant boost to crew communication facilities on board as well as enables vessels to benefit from improved business intelligence and remote access to the vessel’s IT network. The service uses the XChange Universal Remote Access (URA) solution, one of Marlink’s many Value Added Services available on Fleet Xpress.

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La Manche is a vital component of Aker BioMarine's supply chain. (courtesy: Aker BioMarine)

“Fleet Xpress has transformed our communication capabilities aboard La Manche. Reports from crew and captain are positive, with speed and availability highlighted as the biggest improvements,” said David Cheyette, IT Consultant for Aker BioMarine. “Our experience with Sealink C-band VSAT on the Krill harvester fleet made Marlink the obvious partner for the La Manche upgrade and the Marlink team has once again provided a high quality of service from installation through to daily operations. Having access to Marlink’s portfolio of Value Added Services over Fleet Xpress was also attractive for us and has already paid dividends, especially in the context of La Manche’s IT network management.”

Aker BioMarine is the only krill supplier that controls the entire harvesting and production process and La Manche is a vital component of the company’s supply chain, which stretches from krill harvesting in Antarctic waters through a logistics hub in Montevideo to its krill oil manufacturing facility in Houston. La Manche, a 172-metre reefer with accommodation for up to 68 crew, services Aker BioMarine’s two krill harvesting vessels, Saga Sea and Antarctic Sea, which operate year-round in the Antarctic. As a support ship, La Manche’s core duties are to transfer crew and supplies and deliver the krill meal produced on the harvester vessels back to shore.

Fleet Xpress was the natural upgrade option on La Manche for reliable connectivity in the Southern Ocean, as it satisfies coverage demand over the vessel’s operational area. As Marlink is already Aker BioMarine’s existing supplier of C-band VSAT services for Saga Sea and Antarctic Sea, Aker BioMarine turned to Marlink to improve communication facilities aboard La Manche, with Inmarsat’s next generation high-speed service to complement Marlink’s own Value Added Services.

The installation is based on a one metre Ka-band antenna with full integration to the XChange centralised IT and communications management system. XChange has already simplified administration of Aker BioMarine crew Internet and voice calling accounts, which can be set-up per crew member with pre- and post-paid options, in addition to providing management functions for quotas and network access. XChange is also the foundation of the unique Universal Remote Access (URA) solution, which Aker BioMarine uses to maintain La Manche’s training network and servers, ensuring higher uptime for the crew training facilities on board. URA is also used for general IT network troubleshooting and software updates, a capability that has already helped to reduce IT management related time and costs.

Marlink has earlier successfully achieved full integration with the Fleet Xpress network by establishing interconnection at all three ‘meet me’ points; one for each of the Global Xpress regions. This means Fleet Xpress users can access a range of Marlink Value Added Services including the Portal 360 online management system in addition to a unique set of Marlink developed network reporting tools. Marlink can proactively report fully on the status of Fleet Xpress voice and data services in addition to showing why a vessel is not operating on the primary GX bearer. By accessing reports including traffic statistics, real-time position of vessels, sailing routes, SNR stats, and networks and satellite beams currently being used, Marlink offers more pro-active support ensuring higher uptime and a faster response for troubleshooting. With on-going development of the SoftNSD / DBP platform, diagnostics and reporting will continue to advance, benefitting from Marlink’s unique understanding of the Fleet Xpress solution.

“Fleet Xpress is an essential part of our multi-band portfolio, providing more choice for our customers to use the services that fit their operational requirements best,” said Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink. “Integrating our Value Added Services and the XChange system with Fleet Xpress allows us to offer even more flexibility in our already extensive technology and frequency agnostic portfolio.”

“Fleet Xpress is more than just a satcoms service,” comments Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. “Fleet Xpress not only enables operators and owners to gain valuable intelligence about the performance of their vessel, but it also meets the connectivity needs of the modern seafarer, offering better communications with the outside world to enhance well-being, performance and crew retention rates. We’re excited that through our strategic partner Marlink, Aker BioMarine has chosen Fleet Xpress.”

About the Marlink Group

Through its ownership of Marlink, Telemar and Palantir, Apax Partners has created a new powerful Group dedicated to providing maritime and enterprise customers with an integrated offering of reliable broadband communications, digital solutions, bridge electronics and flexible service & maintenance.

Combining the power of these expert organisations, the Marlink Group delivers complete connectivity and IT solutions to maritime and enterprise companies globally. It provides an unrivalled portfolio of multi-band communication solutions covering Ku-, Ka-, C- and L-band services extended with mobile and terrestrial links and an industry-unique range of digital solutions. Telemar, as part of the Group, is a recognised supplier for bridge electronics and on-board maintenance services. The Group is completed by Palantir, which specialises in remote IT management solutions and IT services on board.

The expertise of the Marlink Group, combined with its strong satellite network operator and manufacturer partnerships as well as IT network expertise, enables it to bring the power of broadband communications, bridge and electronics technology and service excellence to customers globally, providing tailored connectivity solutions that enable both maritime and enterprise customers globally to digitalise their operations at sea and on land.

Today the Marlink Group has more than 800 employees worldwide and provides customers with unrivalled service and support through an enhanced global footprint and worldwide sales and service locations. A global 24/7 helpdesk, specialised competence centres, local presence on all continents and a network of 1250 service points and partners staffed by highly qualified, certified service engineers, supports global customers to operate their business in an ever smarter, safer and more profitable way. The Group is led by Erik Ceuppens as CEO.

About Fleet Xpress

Fleet Xpress delivers a unique, fully integrated dual capability of high speed, high capacity services (Global Xpress) together with high reliability safety-level services (FleetBroadband) in a single commercial package which is available anywhere in the world. Fleet Xpress is further enriched by its unique service enablement platform designed to provide ship owners, managers and operators with access to a new generation of value-added maritime applications, services and solutions. Inmarsat’s maritime channel Partners include all the leading maritime communications resellers, providing global reach, customer intimacy and value-added capabilities in support of Fleet Xpress, and a well-managed pathway for Inmarsat’s current FleetBroadband customers to migrate over time up to Fleet Xpress. In 2017 Fleet Xpress won the Smart4Sea Excellent Award for technological excellence in smart shipping and the Seatrade Award 2017 for Digital Technology, recognising technical innovation in the maritime industry.

About Inmarsat

Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organisations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat operates in more than 60 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centres of commerce on every continent.